Building Safety Week stresses the importance of occupying safe buildings, as the general public lives, works or plays there. Having buildings that are not up to standard leads to losing lives, property and finances. This could have a ripple effect on other things as well. The implementation of building codes can be traced as far back as 2000 B.C., during the reign of Hammurabi, the founder of the ever-popular Babylonian empire, which was known for its magnificent structures.

The U.S. first established building codes in 1625 to address fire safety and specific materials as coverings for roofs, which were an issue with rampant fire outbreaks. By 1630, Boston scrapped the use of chimneys made from wood and roof coverings made of thatch in a bid to curb fire outbreaks as well. This led to 1788 being the year that saw the first formal building code written in the U.S., in Salem to be precise, a place known for its fires. More cities followed suit to establish building codes in the early 1800s. New Orleans became the first city in 1865 to enact a law that required the inspection of public places.

Plumbing regulations became more prominent in 1880, and elevator and hoist regulations followed in 1883. Steel frames soon emerged in that decade and paved the way for tall buildings and skyscrapers. The theme of Building Safety Week, “Safety for All: Building Codes in Action,” encourages the masses to raise awareness about the importance of safe and resilient construction, fire prevention, disaster mitigation, energy conservation, water safety, training the next generation and new technologies in the construction industry.